Gartner research reported last week that worldwide mobile phone sales rose 21% in the second quarter of 2005. North American mobile phone sales totaled nearly 35.5 million units, an increase of 9.4% from the same quarter last year, a new record for 2nd quarter unit sales. "The sales in the mature markets of Western Europe and North America were driven primarily by sales of phones as replacements for older models and, to a lesser extent, by first-time buyers," the press release said.

One would assume that if people are replacing new units for old, we will see a corresponding increase in the number of Internet-connected phones.

One group that is ahead of the mobile Internet curve are college students, M:Metrics reports. Students, particularly employed students, "consume more mobile content than any other group." The study finds:

  • Mobile web use by students grew 8.7% in July, two-thirds higher growth than that among non-students.
  • Employed full-time students are 42% more likely to use mobile e-mail than an average subscriber.
  • Students with part-time jobs are more than twice as likely to download a mobile game or personalization content, including ringtones and graphics.
  • Students comprised 23.4% of all survey respondents who used mobile messaging applications.
  • 57.5 % of all students are on family plans, most of whom are not paying the bill.
  • The majority of students are spending $41 to $60 on mobile services per month.

M:Metrics’ July 2005 Benchmark Survey of US mobile subscribers shows the percent of US mobile subscribers who:

  • Sent or Received Text Message, 37.3%
  • Retrieved News and Information Via Browser, 13.4%
  • Used Personal E-mail, 11.3%
  • Used Photo Messaging, 10.4%
  • Purchased Ringtone, 9.7%
  • Used Mobile Instant Messenger, 9.6%
  • Used Work E-mail, 5.8%
  • Purchased Wallpaper or Screensaver, 3.8%
  • Downloaded Mobile Game, 3.4%